Children do a lot of adorable things. They pick up dog poop with their hands, they sleep on their dinner plate, they do surgery, graduate from college, get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Wait! What? What kinds of kids are you talking about?
They are called prodigies; a person, especially a child or young person, having extraordinary talent or ability. Here are the most famous child prodigies of our time. Be warned, just reading about them might make you feel stupid, but then again they might give you hope that all is not lost for the human species.
10 Elaina Smith – Counseling Queen
When it comes to advise who do you turn to? Your family? Friends? Why not a little girl? That’s what British wonder Elaina Smith is good at after all. Smith was only seven years old in 2011 when her local radio station Mercia FM in Coventry, West Midlands, offered her a job after she called up a woman and offered her advice on how to cope with a break up. Her mother said they were listening to the radio one morning when the presenter asked for people’s advice and Elaina said she wanted to phone in. Her advice? Go bowling with friends and drink a mug of milk. Mercia was impressed and offered Elaina a weekly breakfast slot. Another listener wrote to Elaina asking how to get a man. Her advice? "Shake your booty on the dance floor and listen to High School Musical.”
9 Ainan Celeste Cawley – Lab Lord
Sometimes the right ingredients just come together to create a Chemistry genius. Ainan Cawley of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, now 13 years old, was just six years old when he gave a Science lecture about acid and alkaloids at a Singapore school. He was only seven years old when he passed the Chemistry O level exam, a test meant for teens aged 16 and up. The following year he enrolled in the Singapore Polytechnic, becoming the world’s youngest student ever to take up a third-year tertiary module. What’s the secret to his success? There seems to be none. His father said he never taught the boy repetitively or regimented his training.
8 Fabiano Luigi Caruana – Chess Champ
Born in 1992, in Miami, Florida, Fabiano Caruana became the world’s youngest chess grandmaster at the age of 14. He is of Italian blood, eight generation of his family were born and lived in Italy before his family moved to the U.S. He discovered he was good at chess when he was only five years old and started playing in tournaments. Up to the age of twelve he was occasionally traveling between the U.S., Europe and South America to take part in tournaments. In 2007 Caruana became a grandmaster, the youngest in the history of both Italy and the U.S. Today he still plays chess and has a house in Europe and another in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
7 Michael Kevin Kearney – Teen Teacher
While some of us can’t be bothered to take up higher learning, Michael Kearney must have been impatient. He earned his first degree when he was only 10 years old. He must have always been in a hurry; he spoke for the first time when he was four months old. At six months old he was able to tell his pediatrician what precisely ailed him and within 10 months old he was able to read. When he was four years old he was given a diagnostic test for the Johns Hopkins precocious math program and got a perfect score. He finished high school at six, then enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College. In 2008, Kearney became the world’s youngest college graduate at the age of 10 with a degree in Anthropology. He started teaching when he was 17. Did we mention he also won $1,000,000 in ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’
6 Elise Tan Roberts – Mensa Master
Einstein’s IQ was 160, Elise Roberts’ IQ was 156 and that was when she was just two years old. Now seven years old, Roberts became the youngest member of Mensa, beating the record previously held by a three-year-old boy. Her genius was already evident at a very young age, when she was just five months old she started speaking. When she was eight months she started walking and was running by the time she was 10 months. Not quite one year old she could already recognize her written name, Professor Joan Freeman, a specialist education psychologist, put her through a complex, 45-minute IQ test just to silence skeptics before concluding that she was indeed gifted.
5 Aelita Andre – Painting Prodigy
It took Picasso years to become an artist, for Australian Aelita Andre, art came when she was barely two years old in 2010. She got an opportunity to show her paintings when Mark Jamieson, the director of Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne's Fitzroy, was asked by a photographer to take a look at the work of another artist. Jamieson liked what he saw and agreed to include it in a group show. He would later find out the paintings were done by a two-year-old. Nevertheless, Brunswick proceeded with the exhibition. The exhibit sent critics talking. Some are now calling her the next Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock.
4 Cleopatra Stratan – Singing sensation
At three years old Cleopatra Stratan became the youngest person in the world to become a singer. We don’t just mean a song or two every now and then. We mean albums, an MTV award and a two-hour live performance in front of an audience. Born in, 2002 in Chisinau, Moldova, Stratan is the daughter of Moldovan-Romanian singer, Pavel Stratan. Her mother discovered she had singing talent one day while they were recording a song when she grabbed the microphone and started signing along with her mother. The recording people loved it and recorded a song with her on lead vocals. The rest, as they say, is history. Some of her songs have already been translated into English, Spanish and Japanese.
3 Akrit Jaswal – Savvy Surgeon
While most seven-year-olds were playing around pretending they were doctors, Akrit Jaswal was performing actual surgery. Born in 1993, his mother said Akrit skipped the toddler stage and started walking. He started speaking in his 10th month and was reportedly reading Shakespeare by the age of five. His love for science and anatomy was noticed by doctors who let him observe surgeries. He was inspired and soon learned all he could about surgery. His moment came when a poor family who could not afford surgery asked him to operate on their daughter. He agreed, the operation was a success and he became widely celebrated.
2 Gregory Smith – Nobel Nominee
What was your greatest achievement by the time you were age 12? Did you win an inter-state quiz bowl? Did you score the winning homerun for your baseball team? Did you get nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize? Gregory Smith did. Another early starter, Smith could read when he was 10 and enrolled in a university when he was 10. He also founded the International Youth Advocates, an organization promoting peace and understanding among youths throughout the world. He has met with former U.S. President Bill Clinton and for USSR head Mikhail Gorbachev and has also addressed the UN Assembly. It was that and other advocacies that earned him the Nobel Peace Prize nomination four times. While he has not won the award yet there is no need for him to worry, he’s still young. He just turned 23.
1 Kim Ung-Yong – Learning leader
So where were we? Elise Roberts’ IQ was 156, Einstein’s IQ was 160, this guy’s IQ is 210. Born in 1962, Korean Kim Ung-Young just may be the smartest man alive today. At three years old Kim was a guest student of Physics at the Hanyang University. At four he was already able to read in several languages; Korean, Japanese, German and English. At five he was already able to solve complex Calculus problems. Before he was 10 he was already speaking eight languages; Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, German, English and Japanese.
When he seven he was invited to the U.S.A. by NASA and was able to get his Ph.D. in Physics at the Colorado State University before he turned 15. He later returned to Korea where he decided to switch from Physics to civil engineering and eventually got a doctorate in that field. He was offered the chance to study at the most prestigious universities in Korea, but Kim instead chose to attend a provincial university. As of 2007 he served as adjunct faculty at Chungbuk National University. Guinness still lists him as the person with the highest IQ in the world.